Whatever you call him Pitbull, Mr. 305, or his real name, Armando Christian Pérez this talented young rapper stays ahead of the game. Last October he released his sophomore album, El Mariel, which quickly ranked on Billboard's charts as number one top independent album, and number two rap album. Despite losing his dad and best friend back to back last year while he was writing the record, he kept at his music, eulogizing both in the track "Raindrops," featuring local R&B songstress Anjuli Stars. And when word came down that Fidel Castro was on his deathbed, or possibly even dead, he headed over to the studio and recorded "Ya Se Acabó," with tight lyrics set to an Afro-Cuban beat. The message to Fidel: Shut up, it's over. Luther Campbell ("Uncle Luke"), who gave the rapper his first break, says Pit represents Miami well. He recalls the early days when he would take Pitbull's music to radio stations like Power 96, and they didn't want to play it. Airplay is far from a problem today. Pit's first album, M.I.A.M.I. (Money Is a Major Issue), was certified gold. He's appeared on MTV Tr3's Mi TRL and Univision's Sabado Gigante. But for the rapper, things are just getting started. His next project, a Spanish-language album titled Armando, is slated for release later this year. So what makes Pitbull so specialç For the ladies, it might be lyrics that highlight what he can do with his tongue. For everyone, it's clear: This artist has really grown since his debut album. He works his ass off, and has an uncanny talent for surmounting generational differences when things Cuban are concerned. Now he can't walk the streets of his native Little Havana without being approached for photos and autographs by people of all ages. He graciously obliges, and even signs dollar bills for them. Artistically, versatility is his golden ticket. "He can adapt to any style on any record. He can flip it: fast rap, slow rap. He keeps with the tempo," Campbell says. "His lyrics are incredible; he takes words right out of the air." Armando has paved the way. 2007 is the year of the Pitbull.